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The reality is that we are all going to make mistakes.  It is what human beings do.

Can you think of any other better way to do it?  In kindness acting in His Name and with His Love?

–SueBE

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Connect with those around you. Smile! 

Some people talk to God as easily and readily as picking up a phone — they have God on speed dial. Through meditation, prayer or other means, they’ve perfected the art of hearing what God is telling them; their ears perk up at sounds outside the spectrum of human hearing. I admire them. I envy them.

My ears stretch and crane for the slightest peep. I hear only the silence of my own selfish heart. Would I believe the voice of God if it came to me? Or would I dismiss it as a figment of my own imagination? What does it take to hear God? Well, for one, it requires being attuned to your own inner self. This is difficult to do when one is not essentially interested in one’s inner self. Call it dint of long acquaintance, but I am thoroughly sick of my inner self. I’d like it replaced, please, with something better, holier, more interesting. I am tired of slogging through its sludgy waters.

Then I remember: St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta last heard the voice of God as a young woman traveling on a train. She never heard the voice again, not through the long years of her service to the poor, holding the hands of the dying, through her own illness and death. Not once. Her “dark night of the soul” lasted decades. And it would be difficult to argue that she wasn’t trying to do what God asked of her all those years ago on that train. She was. With a resounding silence as her reward.

So maybe God doesn’t speak to us with an eye as to what we deserve or even ask for. Maybe God figures once is enough for the right folks. Only when was my once? Was it deciding to go away to a college I’d never even visited before but which ended up creating lasting ties and thoroughly overhauling my spirituality? It was a decision that could certainly be described as providential. But I’d hate to think that the first, last and only time I heard or heeded God was at the raw age of 18. That’s a lot of wasted years.

Or is that I don’t know how to listen? That would be strange indeed, as I count listening as one of my greatest ministries. I’m the woman that strangers pour their hearts out to while standing in line at Walmart. I hear about other people’s crises of faith. So maybe I’m not supposed to hear but to be a conduit to the One Who Does Hear?

I wish I knew, but I suppose that would require a rather loud message that I, for whatever reason, lack the skill to interpret. It doesn’t mean that I am going to toss out my inner telephone. No, I’ll keep it on, hoping as I have through all these long years, that someone will give me a call. I’m waiting.

As I read through various blog posts on Friday, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  Pope Francis had done a TED Talk?  No way!

But, he had.  For those of you who have missed out on these talks, TED stands for Technology, Engineering and Design.  Thus the first talks were all pretty techy and many of them still are.  But the people behind TED have branched out with talks on creativity and writing and how people see each other.

This past Tuesday, the Pope addressed the TED conference which this time around had the theme “The Future You.” In working within this, he addressed the power that each “you,” each individual in this world has to make change.

Francis discussed how deeply interconnected we are and how this connectivity works. To truly connect, and I’m paraphrasing all of this because he spoke in Italian which was translated, equality and solidarity have to be the goal.

And not just the goal on Sunday.  Or when we are doing churchy or charitable things.  Equality and solidarity have to be the goal of politics, of economics and even of science. This means, according to Pope Francis, going beyond our culture of waste in which it is okay for certain people, individuals and groups, to be cast aside. People, he reminded listeners, are not statistics.  They are not numbers.  It isn’t enough for us to have good intentions and talk about social justice.  We have to get out there and make it happen like the Good Samaritan or Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Like them, we need to be individual candles in a world of conflict.

In doing, we will create hope. Where one of us is there can be hope.  Where many of us are, there can be revolution.

That said, he calls on us to create a revolution of tenderness. This needs to be a revolution of tenderness to hear and see the hopeless and those who are crying out, to hear and see the damage being done to our Earthly home, It means to use our hearts and our hands to take action.

A revolution of tenderness.

Wow.

Just wow.

–SueBE

This has been one of those weeks.  Not a horrible week but a hard week.  We are cleaning out my dad’s house.  It is also Spring Break. The kids may in general be happy to help but spending 4 days this week sorting, recycling, pitching and boxing up, has not been their ideal Spring Break.

I’m also under contract for one book and just agreed to write another.  I’m teaching an online course on writing nonfiction for children and teens.  And I’m judging a writing contest.  Why did I schedule all of this now?  None of it was up to me.

The only one that was in my power was agreeing to read over a new friend’s proposal. I hadn’t gotten to it yet when she called on Thursday.  As expected, she told me how much she wants my feedback but also how important she thinks it is to get this to the editor now.

But what she said next really surprised me. She thanked me for always having a good sense of humor and being willing to help someone out.  Then she offered to come help at my dad’s one morning.

I was floored. Kind words and a simple offer. That’s all it took.

Definitely something to consider as we try to share God in our lives.

–SueBE

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There have been very few times in my life when I’ve actually been speechless.

But something happened over the weekend that defies words. In fact, it defies logic. Humanity. The bounds of decency.

President Trump wrote an Executive Order banning immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries.

This seems like the action of someone out to prove a point. Perhaps he was irked by the recent women’s marches or fired up about his contention that the popular vote was rigged to make it seem as if most of the country voted against him.

Just as it’s never a good idea to discipline your children when you’re out-of-control with rage, it’s not prudent to issue edicts on the spur-of-the-moment and without knowing all of the facts.

As we all adjust to this new reality – the “reality” of “alternate facts” and grudge matches between officials with the power to declare war on countries and on whole groups of human beings – I’m gaining strength from great gurus, such as our own SueBE and Lori, and I’m meditating on their wise words.

Taking solace in this quote from FDR:

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”

Enjoying the irony in these words from John Steinbeck:

“My whole family has been having trouble with immigrants ever since we came to this country.”

Nodding in agreement with the wisdom of Margaret Mead:

“The discrepancy between American ideals and American practice — between our aims and what we actually do — creates a moral dry rot which eats away at the foundations of our democratic faith.”

And leaving you with these words from an Enlightened Encourager, the great Mother Teresa:

“The more I traveled, the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.”

lampsOn Ash Wednesday, I started my Lenten commitment to look for God in the every day. I’m doing this to reacquaint myself with the Savior who walked as a man among men.  I want to rediscover the Christ who worked with loaves and fishes. Who walked through freshly harvested fields. Who reached out and touched individuals.

Looking for Christ in these small things, I saw the parallel between these reminders of Christ and the love Mother Teresa likens to drops of oil.

“Don’t think that love, to be true, has to be extraordinary. What is necessary is to continue to love. How does a lamp burn, if it is not by the continuous feeding of little drops of oil? When there is no oil, there is no light and the bridegroom will say: ‘I do not know you.’ Dear friends, what are our drops of oil in our lamps? They are the small things from everyday life: the joy, the generosity, the little good things, the humility and the patience. A simple thought for someone else. Our way to be silent, to listen, to forgive, to speak and to act. That are the real drops of oil that make our lamps burn vividly our whole life. Don’t look for Jesus far away, He is not there. He is in you, take care of your lamp and you will see Him.”

– Mother Teresa

This doesn’t mean that we will never find God in the dramatic gesture or the momentous miracle, but miracles are rare things.  We are much more likely to find God in the still, small voice and the subtle gesture, the glow of a lamp or the symmetry of a snowflake.

He is there, all around you, every day.

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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